By Frederick H. Lowe
The Southern Poverty Law Center announced today that Morris Dees, the organization’s co-founder, has been fired, but officials of the Montgomery, Alabama-based organization did not explain why.
“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” said Richard Cohen, SPLC’s president. “When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.”
Dees’ biography has been removed from the organization’s website.
Dees, who is 82, co-founded SPLC in 1971 and was the chief litigator. The organization tracks hate groups and regularly publishes “Intelligence Report.”
The issue, which was published in Spring of 2019 was titled “The Year in Hate: Rage Against Change: White Supremacy Flourishes amid Fears of Immigration and the Nation’s Shifting Demographics.”
The magazine published articles, photographs, and maps where most hate groups operate. The SPLC blew the whistle on the rise of white hate groups that were often ignored by law enforcement officials because some of their employees were members of the hate groups.
The groups listed were the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, white nationalists. Under his leadership, the SPLC bankrupted the nation’s largest Klan organization.
The SPLC also said Chicago-based Nation of Islam was involved in hate speech.
“The black nationalist movement is a reaction to centuries of institutionalized white supremacy in America,” SPLC explained.
Dees could not be reached for comment, but a series of articles in Montgomery Advertiser newspaper reported Dees was more concerned with raising money than fighting hate. In 2017, SPLC had $450 million in assets according to federal tax records.
SPLC’s black employees also charged that Dees was a racist.